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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 38, New Delhi, Sept 4, 2021

ME - a poem on casteism & prejudice | Jeevesh Gupta

Friday 3 September 2021



Those eyes were not nude but were surely stripping me,
Wanting to decipher the black in me,

Those raised eyebrows were stampeding on my mind trampling me,
Wanting to figure out the God in me,

I could hear those poisoned whispers which were raised to a higher decibel,
To reach my ears and axe me.

I could read that disdain caricatured on that forehead ,
Wanting to pierce that needle inside me.

I wondered what would trickle out of me,
Will it not be blood or was it tar which comprised me.

I was beginning to doubt that soul which was me,
Was his sugar and mine jaggery.

But aren’t both as sweet
Or his sweet was sweeter than me?

What was that which carved him and what is it that which chiselled me,
Was his Michelangelo and here I was the unknown me?

Was it that I could only walk and he could buzz like the bee,
Or was he immortal and here I was the finite me.

I feel my skin and wonder if his was smoother than me,
Or will he be burnt in Sandalwood and Peepul was for me.

Deciphering this strangulating mystery with tears wetting my eyelashes
I wondered, if his sperm was white and black was for me.

Fertilized inside the same motherly wombs,
Why is there a "we" to pamper him and an "I" bludgeoned inside me.

by Jeevesh Gupta

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